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Virtual Instruments gets hooks into SANs

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ProbeVM collects ESX and guest metrics via VMware vCenterServer. It enables the correlation of server metrics with SAN metrics by ESX server and cluster, by LUN, whether shared or specific to VM, and by unique VM WWN (world wide name) if using NPIV. It's scalable to thousands of ESX instances and thousands of VMS.

You can look at traffic performance by LUN, by HBA, at a read level, at a write level and at application level. You could display charts showing a MB/sec data transmitted view for Exchange, Oracle and DAP concurrently, with such correlations being user-selectable. Users could answer “what if” questions by simulating different scenarios using historical production data recordings. They could ask questions like what happens to my read/write performance if I consolidate the LUNs on two arrays into one?

With VirtualWisdom 2.0 a single portal server can scale to 50,000 or so ports, and reporting can run concurrently with data acquisition. Think of it as a network operations centre for a SAN. VI says that the product tracks every transaction from VM to LUN, measures SAN latency per app, and can prove whether app performance problems are in the SAN or not.

Thompson said he expects VI to grow at a 100 per cent a year rate for the next three years. There are 65 to 70 people in the firm and it has operations in the USA, UK, Germany, France and Canada. VI is looking to get more traction and build its presence in those geographies with VirtualWisdom 2.0.

The key to this is the instrumentation, from taps into the Fibre Channel hardware to probes into VMware, with the dashboard being able to show and replay events, a TIVO for the SAN. The key appeal for customers is the ability to better match their SAN infrastructure to the needs of their virtualised server applications, meaning potentially lower purchases of SAN infrastructure and storage.

Thompson said most sales are direct with channel fulfilment: "The hope is we will be able to focus more on the OEM side and use a few OEMs with deep relationships. A potential issue is that we have the potential to impact long-term sales for the storage vendors."

Both Rosenthal and Thompson are emphatic that Virtual Wisdom 2 is a key product for enterprises. They have maybe 30 per cent of their servers virtualised with a focus on test and dev' environments.

Getting to have 70 per cent server virtualisation with the mission-critical apps running in VMs means they must have confidence that they can design, detect, diagnose and fix changes in the virtualised infrastructure, from app in the VM to disks in the end-point arrays. That's what Virtual Wisdom gives enterprises, they claim, and nothing else has the same depth and breadth of instrumentation and dashboard smarts. ®

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